A major goal of the Fort Worth District’s Office of Small Business Programs is to support the government’s policy of placing a fair portion of contracts with eligible small businesses. Another point of emphasis is to assist small businesses in becoming more marketable to larger businesses which receive government contracts.
“Our partnerships with large and small businesses are critical to delivering vital engineering solutions to solve the nation’s toughest challenges,” said Bob Morris, deputy chief for Programs, Project Management Division.
The federal government categorizes small businesses into various types. These businesses include small, disadvantaged businesses, historically under-utilized business zone, veteran-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, and woman-owned small businesses. Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and minority institutions also receive small business consideration for federal contracts.
“One of my major goals is to develop and improve small business capabilities, to maximize their opportunity for contracts within the Fort Worth District geographical boundaries,” said Ali Marshall, the Fort Worth District’s deputy for Small Business Programs. “This is done on a continual basis to ensure there remains a broad base of capable small businesses to support our projects.”
There is a wide range of military construction and civil works services the Fort Worth District requires to meet its complex mission. Military construction projects include barracks, dining facilities, maintenance shops, hangers, airfields, hospitals, child development centers. While examples of civil works projects include roads, bridges, levees and dams.
Although for the most part large businesses receive contracts for these types of projects due to their size, complexity and scope, these firms must have a small business subcontracting plan, where they provide a certain percentage of their work to small businesses.
“We remain committed to working together with our partners to complete our projects and to build enduring relationships through trust, transparency and shared values,” added Marshall.
According to Marshall, engineering services provide another category of opportunities to gain work with the Corps. Examples include master planning, surveying, and engineering design and construction.
The Corps of Engineers is an organization that prides itself on environmental stewardship. The Southwestern Division’s Regional Planning & Environmental Center manages many of these services for the Fort Worth District and the rest of the region.
“There are endless opportunities to partner with the Corps on planning and environmental work including but not limited to Formerly Used Defense Site investigations and remediation, environmental remediation, master planning, environmental studies, restoration activities, soil sample testing, and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects,” said the Corps’ Southwestern Division’s RPEC chief, Rob Newman.
“No firm is too small for the Office of Small Business Programs when it comes to providing assistance,” added Marshall.
Janitorial, refuse collection, mowing, grounds maintenance, herbicide, landscaping, boundary maintenance and equipment repair are examples of opportunities smaller firms may compete for contracts with the federal government.
Maintenance of recreational lakes, park areas, reservoirs, river basins and hydropower plants offer small business opportunities. While, real estate appraisal and title searches offer still further opportunities, according to Marshall.
“I am an advocate for small businesses,” said Marshall. “I help them update their resume or profile so they can be more marketable to not only large businesses but also the federal government.”
Networking forums, small business conferences and capability briefings are venues where Marshall provides key project information to both large and small contracting firms.
Since assuming her role as the deputy chief for Small Business Programs, Marshall’s hard work and dedication have resulted in her receiving several awards for achievement and performance.
Marshall attributes much of her program’s success to keeping her website fresh with the latest project information available for potential small business contractors and keeping the lines of communication open.
“Because the district manages such a large volume of projects, one of my major challenges is to keep our webpage updated with the latest data so I can get the info out to small businesses as fast as I can,” said Marshall.
“This will allow them to have the maximum time to prepare so they can become highly marketable.”
Marshall ended her discussion of her program by encouraging interested small businesses to visit the Fort Worth District Small business website to find a wealth of information on doing business with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The site is located at: https://www.swf.usace.army.mil/Business-With-Us/Office-of-Small-Business-Programs/